Petscop: 3D Fan Recreation
One of the strangest creepypastas is being brought to life
Petscop3d continues the tradition of its progenitor to captivate and confuse
In March 2017 a video was uploaded to YouTube titled ‘Petscop’ with a description that read, “The game I found.” Little did I know that what was shown would go on to become one of videogames’ greatest mysteries, one that would inspire a small group of indie developers to recreate it.
For them, it all began with that single anonymous video upload in which a mysterious narrator, who would come to be known as Paul, discusses a PlayStation game he found. As he explores this strange and unfinished game, he finds and catches pets by solving a series of rudimentary puzzles. Despite this innocuous beginning, it soon becomes clear this isn’t your average game as things start to take a darker turn and Paul, following the instructions on an accompanying note, finds a shadowy underworld full of bizarre references and themes.
Over a year later and Petscop has become a hotly debated web series with thousands of people around the world wading in with possible theories as to the game’s origins and meaning. For one indie game developer, though, who goes by the name BubbleDerp, that wasn’t enough. “When I first watched Petscop I was in love,” says BubbleDerp. “I had wondered if there were any recreations or stuff like that yet. The previous weeks I was messing with 3D in GameMaker. I decided I had nothing better to do and why not make my own?”
Pets cop :3 D Fan Recreation was the result of that decision – a game that aims to simulate the experience of the web series, offering fans a chance to retread Paul’s footsteps through the strange, eerie story. I have to admit, it was a surreal feeling to actually be playing Petscop. From the familiar sounds of the PlayStation startup sequence, to the bright visuals and cute soundtrack, this is an authentic recreation. It was difficult not to mirror the actions of Paul, as I followed his trail through the first level catching pets as I explored.
It’s widely accepted that Petscop is not a real game, in that it was never developed back in the ’90s with the intention of being released on the PlayStation. As BubbleDerp tells me: “There is a lot of things that a PlayStation could not do, like the child library where Paul’s movement is predicted perfectly and, well, coding that onto PlayStation hardware would be very hard, to say the least.”
It wasn’t long into the game until my knowledge of the series was tested, as unless you know what it says on the note that Paul got with the game, you can’t progress past the first building. This note, along with a weird message about shadow monster men, includes details of a code and where to enter it, at which point the music stops. An eerie silence descended around me. In that moment I realised Petscop hadn’t lost any of its claustrophobic atmosphere in its transition to videogame form. Much like other internet folklore, such as Slenderman, Petscop’s journey into reality from the obscure message boards that propagated it increased rather than decreased its potency.
Petscop3D continues the tradition of its progenitor to captivate and confuse. The biggest question remains, though: how will the game end? “I have not thought about how the game will end,” says BubbleDerp. “I feel like we are getting close, however.” Truth is, nobody knows when or how Petscop will end, meaning Petscop:3DFanRecreation is intertwined in that fate and committed to a journey that, hopefully, leads to the answers everyone seeks.
The game sees you catching ‘pets’.